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Bekah Carran: And we look and comb our hair opens at The Dowse, 20 June 2020

Bekah Carran, And we look and comb our hair, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist
What we cast aside: Bekah Carran's solo show of mystical sculptures cast from everyday clutter opens at The Dowse, 20 June


Mystical and delicately balanced sculptures cast from the debris of our daily lives feature in a new exhibition by Bekah Carran (Te Ati Awa, Taranaki) at The Dowse Art Museum, opening 20 June.

And we look and comb our hair is a solo show by the Ōtepoti Dunedin-based artist, and includes detailed new artworks cast from industrial materials like steel and concrete.

Carran works with objects found in domestic spaces, the debris of everyday life – bowls of coins, crystals, seeds and junk jewellery. She casts these objects into beautiful sculptures that balance a sense of delicacy and tension.

She says the exhibition examines the things we inadvertently accumulate, “taking the junk of everyday life and making it feel timeless.”

“To me it’s about looking into these dishes filled with the bits and pieces that make up contemporary life, and seeing a reflection of ourselves,” she says. “We like to think we have control over how future people will see us but the objects that survive us to tell the story are often accidental.”

“I gather a lot of quite ugly stuff from op shops—trashy jewellery and really unfortunate pots and ornaments and cast, assemble and recast them. One of my daughters wore some horrible green plastic witch fingers last Halloween and they made it into a work.”

Carran has been creating the works for the exhibition for more than five months: “I tend to have all of them on the go at the same time which can fluctuate between exciting and overwhelming.”

Carran’s work responds to debates on consumption and sustainability. Looking at objects that outlast us, the works resemble treasured relics transformed into something seemingly ancient.

Grace Ryder, Curator at The Dowse, says the sculptures are “incredibly beautiful,” and prompt us to think about the life of objects and the cyclical nature of time.

“We’re living in the Marie Kondo era, where we all aim to live as minimalists, caressing our beloved few treasures,” she says. “Thinking about the things we have and how they accumulate, and what we leave behind is so important. Bekah’s work draws attention to these knick-knacks and remakes them as treasured, valued items – as artworks.”

“The balance and scale of the works are awe-inspiring, with lots of hidden objects to discover within,” she says. “They’re heavy works made from concrete and steel that seem to be balancing from a nail or suspended from a spindly branch.”

Bekah Carran: And we look and comb our hair opens at The Dowse on Saturday 20 June, and runs until 1 November 2020.

It opens alongside two other new exhibitions at The Dowse; Kōkōrangi ki kōkōwai, a journey through Maramataka and the revitalisation of aute (barkcloth) by Gisborne artist Nikau Hindin, and Can’t Be Together, an exhibition exploring ideas of togetherness, intimacy and isolation through a selection of artworks from The Dowse Collection.

They join four other exhibitions on at The Dowse over winter – including Ā Mua: New Lineages of Making, Human Hand: Fiona Amundsen & Tim Corballis, Ngā Hokohoko, and The Group: Flying No Standard. Spanning contemporary craft, film and photography, jewellery, painting and sculpture, there’s something to see for every art lover.

Further information: 

For more information, interviews & images, contact:

Steph McDonald, Communications Manager – | 027 424 1716 

Written by

The Dowse Art Museum

16 Jun 2020